ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (Edimburgh 1859 - Crowborough 1930)

His life

Doyle was born on May 22, 1859 at Picardy Place, Edinburgh, as the son of Charles Altamont Doyle, a civil servant in theEdinburgh Office of Works, and Mary (Foley) Doyle. Both of Doyle’s parents were Roman Catholics. His father suffered from epilepsy and alcoholism and was eventually institutionalized. Charles Altamont died in an asylum in 1893. In the same year Doyle decided to finish permanently the adventures of his master detective. Because of financial problems, Doyle’s mother kept a boarding house. Dr. Tsukasa Kobayashi has suspected in an article, that Doyle’s mother had a long affair with Bryan Charles Waller, a lodger and a student of pathology, who had a deep impact to Conan Doyle.

Doyle was educated in Jesuit schools. He studied at Edinburgh University, where he met Dr Joseph Bell, his professor and later mentor, and in 1884 he married Louise Hawkins. Doyle qualified as doctor in 1885. After graduation Doyle practiced medicine as an eye specialist at Southsea near Porsmouth in Hampshire until 1891 when he became a full time writer.

During the South African war (1899-1902) Doyle served for a few months as senior physician at a field hospital, and wrote The war in South Africa, in which he took the imperialistic view. In 1900 and 1906 he ran unsuccessfully for Parliament. Doyle was knighted in 1902. Fourteen months after his wife died, Conan Doyle married in 1907 his second wife, Jean Leckie. He dedicated himself in spiritualistic studies, which were a common thing at the time of séasons, after the death of his son Kingsley from wounds suffered in World War I. An example of these is The coming of fairies, in which he supported the existence of “little people” and spent more than a million dollars on their cause. He also became president of several important spiritualist organizations.

Doyle’s practice, and other experiences such as seven months in the Arctic as ship’s doctor on a whaler, and three on a steamer bound to the West Coast of Africa, provided material for his writings.

Doyle died on July 7, 1930 from heart disease at his home, Windlesham, Sussex.




His work


First story about Holmes, A study in scarlet, was published in 1887 in ‘Beeton Christmas Annual.’. The novel was written in three weeks in 1886. It introduced the detective and his associate and friend, Dr. Watson, and made famous Holmes’s address at Mrs. Hudson’s house, 221B Baker Street, London. Their major opponent was the malevolent Moriarty, the classic evil genius who was a kind of doppelgänger of Holmes. Also the beautiful opera singer Irene Adler caused much trouble to Holmes.

The second Sherlock Holmes story, the sign of four, was written for the Lippincott’s Magazine in 1890. The story collects a colorful group of people together, among them Jonathan Small who has a wooden leg and a dwarf from Tonga islands. At this time  ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ started to appear in the Strand Magazine.

In 1893 Doyle was so sick and tired of his famous detective that he devised his death in The Final Problem (published in the Strand). In the story Holmes meets Moriarty at the fall of the Reichenbach in Switzerland and disappears. Watson finds a letter from Holmes, stating “I have already explained to you, however, that my career had in any case reached its crisis, and that no possible conclusion to it could be more congenial to me than this.”

In The hound of the Baskervilles, published in 1902, Doyle narrated an early case of the dead detective.

He was knighted “Sir Arthur” in 1902 for his work in Boer War propaganda especially for the pamphlet The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct— and, some said, because of the publication of this last story.

Here are some Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , such as A Scandal in Bohemia, A case of IdentityThe Five Orange Pips, The Adventure of The Speckled Band,or The Man with the Twisted Lip...

Adapted from

Who inspired Sherlock Holmes?